Are you a defensive lineman who is looking to take your football game to the next level? No matter what level you are playing on, whether its the high school level or the professional level, there are certain skills any defensive lineman must possess in order to be considered a good defensive player. Read on to learn which skills and aspects of your game that you need to be putting the most effort into improving.

To be a great defensive lineman, you have to have great technique and be able to cause havoc for the offense, in particular, offensive tackles and guards. For defensive ends, one play you may have to bull rush the offensive lineman straight into the quarterback and another play you may have to put a spin or swim move on the offensive lineman in order to get to the quarterback for the sack. A defensive end could even be called on to drop back into pass coverage on certain situations and plays. If you are a defensive tackle, you must excellent at pluging  gaps and stuffing the holes so the running back can't get through any holes on a running play. You may also have to be to fight off doubleteam blocks and protect your legs from being cut by an offensive lineman in order to get to the quarterback.

A defensive lineman must possess a strong lower body and powerful core. This will allow you to explode off the line of scrimmage once the play starts and drive with your legs in order to play on the offense's side of ball which is what your main responsibility is. If you as a defensive lineman are making plays on the offense's side of the ball for the majority of the game, then chances are, the offense isn't getting many yards doesn't have time to get their plays off because you are in their backfield.

To be a successful defensive lineman, you also have to be able to use your hands violently to get offensive linemen off of you. The trenches is a brutal battle between linemen, with lineman at the high school level possibly weighing in excess of 300 pounds. Therefore, you have to be physically powerful and able to use your hands and upper body strength to knock blockers back . The best exercises to perform for superior upper body strength are the bench press, military presses, shrugs, and push presses. For a complete step by step video and articles on how to perform these exercises and many more football related exercises, visit

Lastly, if you are going to be a defensive lineman, you have to be tough enough to play through pain. Notice how I said pain and not through injuries. Defensive linemen have to be the toughest football players on the field because both offensive and defensive lineman are the biggest and strongest athletes on the field and if you are playing in the trenches, then you are bound to have knicks and bangs just from the violence that takes place each snap. If you are injured and cannot play, then you obviously have to come out, but if you are in pain, you have to be physically tough enough to play through it.  Football is naturally a violent sport. Your coach is counting on you to be tough enough to get through the game with minor knicks, bruises, and injuries. You need to perform intense weight training, plyometrics, olympic lifts,  and do a lot of running and sports specific conditioning in order to minimize the chances of you getting injured and to improved your toughness and conditioning levels.

Dwight Freeney - Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts

In conclusion, these tips once implemented will help any defensive lineman take his game to the next level. Good Luck!